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HCM from A-ZTuesday, 10/10/2006, 01:53

Where horses race and people bet

Where horses race and people bet

Where horses race and people bet

A day of horse races at the Phu Tho racecourse, or Saigon Racing Club, offers HCM City residents and visitors a chance to relax and enjoy themselves in an exciting and fun atmosphere. To get the most from the opportunity, however, pick a horse and put some money down to try your luck.

I have enjoyed horse races at Phu Tho for many years,� Ly Chanh Tin, a regular, says. �The atmosphere at Phu Tho recently became even more exciting partly thanks to stronger �racers� imported from Australia.�

Apart from getting some new horses to make races, and bets, more thrilling, the course�s facilities of Vietnam�s first horse race course were also upgraded. People can now sit in V.I.P. rooms, and entrance tickets are sold with computers.

Phu Tho deputy director Hsu King Hoe, who has managed a big racing stadium in Malaysia for 30 years, says there are three types of bets in Phu Tho.

You can either place a bet on the horse that you think will win (WIN), bet on the horses that you think will come first and second (EXA) or bet on the horses that you think will come first, second and third (TRI).

Each betting ticket costs VND10,000. There is no restriction as to how many tickets you can buy. And the more people join the betting, the more exciting it is because more money can be won, Tin says.

While many Vietnamese who are known to have a soft spot for betting flock to the race course to multiply their money, some foreigners prefer watching the races over betting.

�I pay VND100,000 a ticket to sit in the V.I.P section of the racecourse,� Nick Page, a Russian tourist, says. �From there, I can clearly observe the skillful professional jockeys from Malaysia, while snacking on Asian and Western dishes and sipping coffee. The service is good.�

Among the regular visitors from various nationalities, some businessmen from the United States, Britain, Singapore, Taiwan, Macao and Hong Kong come to enjoy the races.

Races take place from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is VND5,000. V.I.P rooms cost VND50,000 and VND100,000.Phu Tho was set up in 1932. Racing there stopped in 1975 but restarted in 1989. 

Despite renovations, Phu Tho has retained its ancient French-style structure, revealing the stadium�s roots. Its first owner, Lozenki Gayllet De Montbeziat, was French.

 Head of the Saigon Horse Racing Association, Montbeziat, borrowed money from the at-that-time Indochina Bank to build a 48-hectare racing stadium, naming it Phu Tho.

At that time, not only French residents, but Vietnamese and Vietnamese Chinese businessmen frequented the course. Some Saigonese commoners also came there.Address: Saigon Racing Club, 2 Le Dai Hanh Street, District 11, HCM City. Tel: (08) 962 4319.


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